Whether your "sex number" is 2 or 20, don't let society dictate what's normal.
They've long been the subject of countless boudoir conversations, and there are countless forums about whether or not to lie about them on the web. I'm talking about, of course, "sex numbers" for men and women.
Typically, these numbers include a full count of everyone an individual has had full-out intercourse with, but do not include oral sex or other types of intimacy. Whether out of a morbid sense of curiosity, or an honest desire to gain a deeper understanding of a partner's past life, the question gets asked again and again and the answer is either inflated or deflating accordingly (so that men and women can keep up with society's expectations of their respective gender roles).
You see, while men are typically celebrated, both in the media and amongst their peers, for having had sex with copious amounts of women, they tend to put each woman they sleep with one digit closer to being "slut shamed" by society.
For centuries, and in more than one culture, men have been encouraged to garner as much sexual experience as they possibly can. Meanwhile, women (especially those in positions of power or celebrity status) have been portrayed as either "pure, innocent" virgins, or "dirty, shameful" whores with no real refuge for their reputations, in between depending on their level of experience.
Whether they have been motivated by the apparent thrill of going where no man has ever been before, or simply by a fear of being compared negatively to a woman's former conquests, the men of history have made it clear that they believe virgins to be more "worthy" than sexually experienced woman. I use the word "worthy" here rather than "desirable," because men have not hesitated to enjoy the favors of the latter. Rather, they've upheld a longstanding double standard by enjoying their intimate company with no fear of social repercussion, and then boldly blabbing about how "loose, "self-respectless," or "skanky" such women are.
Women have, therefore, been motivated to lie about the number of partners they've had to appear more desirable to men. By default, this means that they've also been motivated to lie to other women in order to save face and preserve their reputations. As a result, many women now have no idea what is even a "normal" or relatively common sex number to have.
For the longest time, the concept of whether or not a woman should lie to her potential suitors about how many lovers she's had was not a question of whether or not she was a virgin; rather, that she was not suitable for marriage. Over time, the "acceptable" number of lovers a woman can have has become less strict.
In today's world, some men believe that a woman should have only three other lovers prior to marriage, some honestly still believe in the everlasting virgin ideal, and some others frankly don't give a damn.
Woman now seem to be looking for a guideline of sorts, a way to categorize their man and figure out his preference before risking his disapproval by sharing their true sex number (which might range from 0 to 100, according to an article published in Cosmopolitan). Woman after woman is asking, "Should I lie about the number of intimate partners I've had? Will it make me seem more desirable?" The answer is simple: No.
1. Perpetuating the double standard.
Each and every time a woman purposely downplays her number in the belief that it will make her seem more attractive, she is contributing to the harmful double standard that promiscuity in a woman is dirty, while promiscuity in a man is something to be aspired to.
If each and every woman was honest about their number, men would be forced to accept that having two, ten, or even twenty sexual partners before marriage is a normal and an arguably important part of getting to know oneself. This is because there would be no false "innocent" ideal for them to turn to.
2. Obligation to share.
It's important that women realize they do not need to feel obligated to share their numbers at all. While the presence or potential presence of STDs is a vital piece of information to share with your potential lovers, your number is not a need-to-know bit of information, even for long-term partners.
The number of intimate partners a woman has had is in no way indicative of her cleanliness or dirtiness in terms of STDs. A woman who has slept with 50 men in her lifetime may have used protection and made sure both partners received negative scores on STD tests, while a virgin seduced only once by a much more experienced partner may not have been brave enough to demand he use a condom, and might have wound up contracting HIV.
3. A foundation of lies.
A relationship built on lies has no foundation to stand on. It is better to avoid the discussion altogether, rather than lie about how many partners you've had, because of the repercussions that may occur if your new lover ever finds out. He may have never really minded how many people you'd been with, but decides to leave simply because he feels betrayed.
Ultimately, the decision is an individual one, but in today's modern world, where feminism and sexual liberation run rampant in the media, the answer to the question, "Should I lie to potential partners about how many intimate partners I've had in the past?" seems to be a resounding, "No, and you shouldn't feel that you have to, either."